Today I was thinking about an ebook I have http://www.budget101.com/Ebooklet/EBooklet_Fam4.pdf
I have learned so much from this type of web information! Everyone has at some point had to cover emergency unforseen expenses. "They" keep telling us to save at least 3 months salary, but "they" also tell us that very few of are actually doing it. "They" also tell us that we have to spend tons of moneyon Christmas gifts & decor &amp; travel &&&&&&& the ands just keep coming! So how do we make it through another holiday season, or winter blizzard season with out wrecking our finances? Smart shopping, planning ahead, making our own snacks & mixes.
Don't get me wrong, I fall prey to the "I'm too busy to cook tonight, let's order a pizza..." But I know that when I have my freezer stocked with good & quick meals, I am more likely to run down & grab a tray, than I am to pick up the phone & spend $20 on pizza & breadsticks.
I have been getting emails from http://www.30daygourmet.com/ I have even purchased the software, so I can download all the yummies to my computer (I think I have failed to mention my addiction to recipes...sorry!). It is a great help in planning my cooking days & I can even add my own recipes.
Of course I have files upon files of recipes I have collected over the years. Most of the ones I actually use focus on the feeding my family for as little $ as possible. So my first step was to stop buying all of the prepackaged convenience foods, at least at full retail. I try to make as many things from scratch as possible. Make Your Own (MYO) has been my way of life for a long time! Granted MYO Oreos aren't nearly as yummy, but that's what sales & coupons are for! I do like that in making my own mixes I know what goes in them, I can toss in a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed, or add some secret whole wheat. I can take out some of the salt & know that I'm not adding in any preservatives.
I buy my baking supplies in bulk. I buy 25 pounds of flour at a time, 10 pounds of sugar... I know we all don't have the storage space, but I found a bunch of cheap large plastic containers at "dollar stores" to keep my stash fresh. I have noticed these larger sizes creeping into our local grocery stores, but you need to read the labels! Sometimes larger isn't always cheaper. I go every 6 months or so to our wholesale club (I do have a membership, but we also own businesses, deduction!). I know how hard it is to get through one of those monster stores & not kill your months budget, but I go prepared, stick with what I need & always allow myself some flexibility, but not lots. Frequently they have great deals on something I use, or oh yeah while we are here we should pick up printer ink.... It happens to us all!
So about once a month I dig out the recipes & start going. I make pancake mix, bread mix (for the bread machine), biscuit mix (ie bisquick), hot cocoa mix, sometimes cake or brownie mix. I store most of these in plasctic containers with flip lids that I bought at our local "dollar" store (not one of the everything for a dollar ones).
I also use this time of year to stock up on baking supplies for the rest of the year. We are lucky to have an Aldi here, they offer no brand goods at a fraction of the cost, so I buy my cocoa, corn syrup, nuts, baking powder, soda, etc from there.
So here are a couple of my favorite MYO recipes...
Potato Bread Mix (1-1/2 pound loaf)
I make multiple batches of this recipe, I just measure ingredients into zip lock bags.
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup Dry Potato Flakes
1 Tbsp. White Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
Place the above ingredients into a large (gallon) sized zip baggie and seal.
To make the bread later, you will need the following additional ingredients:
1 1/4 cups Warm Water (110 degrees F)
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
2 3/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast (1 pkg.) Or 2 3/4 tsp. Quick Acting Active Dry Yeast (1 pkg.)
Place all wet ingredients into the bread pan, then add the dry ingredients on top, reserving the yeast for last.
Insert the bread pan into the bread maker, and select "White", desired crust color, rapid or normal baking cycle and loaf size. Select desired delay option, and press Start. You should store these mixes in a cool, dry place just as you would store the pre-packaged mixes you can purchase in the stores.
This is the recipe I use when I need Crescent Rolls, it is easy to make and very good. I will probably never buy Crescent Rolls again.
This recipe equals two packages of rolls.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3-1/2 to 4 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand 5-10 minutes until foamy. Heat milk until bubbles appear around the edges. Combine butter, sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Add yeast and egg into milk mixture at low speed. Beat in 2 cups flour until smooth. Beat in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead a little. Let rise one hour. Punch down and divide dough into two parts. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll out each ball to a 12 inch circle, cut each one into 8ths. Roll from wide end to the point. Lay on greased sheet and let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees. Makes 16 rolls or equal to two containers of Crescent Rolls. You can use this dough in any recipe calling for Crescent Rolls, they are fluffier and nicer to work with than what you buy. If I only need half of the recipe in a recipe than I make rolls with the other half.
Ranch-Style Dressing Mix
2 cups Dry minced parsley flakes
1/2 cup Dry minced onion
2 tablespoons Dry dill weed
1/4 cup Onion salt
1/4 cup Garlic salt
1/4 cup Onion powder
1/4 cup Garlic powder
1 tablespoon Mix
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Buttermilk
Put crackers through blender on high speed until powdered. Add parsley, minced onions, and dill weed. Blend again until powdered. Dump into bowl. Stir in onion salt, garlic salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Put into container with tight-fitting lid.Store dry mix at room temperature for 1 year. Makes 42 1 tablespoon servings.To use mix--Combine mix, mayonnaise, and buttermilk.
Yield: 1 pint.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine. Makes 1 cup.